Police officer who was attacked by suspect has been 'completely let down' by justice system, police chief says
A female police constable who was attacked by a suspect has been “completely let down” by the justice system after prosecutors pursued a lower charge, the chair of the Police Federation has said.
Detective Constable Louise Randall was the victim of a “violent, unprovoked” attack when 28-year-old Samuel Tesefay repeatedly punched her in the face and head as he was being released on bail from Medway police station in Kent.
Tesefay, who came to the UK illegally as an asylum seeker from Eritrea five years ago, was subsequently charged with attempting to cause grievous bodily harm (GBH) with intent and was due to stand trial last month. But the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was prepared to accept a guilty plea to assault causing actual bodily harm (ABH) due to insufficient medical evidence.
Doctors had suspected that Tesefay had given DC Randall a hairline fracture to her eye socket, but it was not deemed strong enough by the CPS to support a more serious charge.
As a result, Tesefay was allowed to vacate the guilty plea he had entered at an earlier stage in proceedings to inflicting GBH and was sentenced on Friday at Maidstone Crown Court, Kent, for two years for the lesser offence.
John Apter, the chair of the National Police Federation, described the sentencing as an “insult” to DC Randall and criticised the “flawed system” implemented by the CPS.
“Two years in prison for assaulting an officer in this violent, unprovoked attack is an absolute insult. It is not justice,” Mr Apter said. “DC Randall has been completely let down by the criminal justice system.
“The unprovoked, violent way this officer was attacked is becoming more typical in today’s society.
“There currently is not a deterrent for assaulting a police officer. We need one.”
A CPS spokesperson said: “The CPS takes any assault on police officers extremely seriously.
“When a decision is taken to prosecute a case, we will always prosecute the most appropriate offence as defined by the law.
“In this case, it was initially believed that the victim had suffered a fracture, so a charge of GBH with intent was authorised. Subsequent evidence showed there was no fracture, so the CPS could not continue to prosecute this charge. The appropriate charge then became ABH and the defendant pleaded guilty to this.”